The question that still haunts many of us. Are we alone in this Universe? Perhaps the answer lies back in 1977 when we received our first proof of alien existence.
Stephen Hawking once said, “If Governments are involved in covering up the knowledge of aliens, then they are doing a much better job of it than they seem to do anything else.” So did he really mean they exist? Are we just advanced breed of monkeys living on a tiny planet of an average star? And in case they didn’t, where did the signal come from in the year 1977? Well, it all remains a mystery that shook the entire scientific world and left many scientists in riddles. Wow! It sounds like a sci-fi movie where aliens try to invade our planet and satellite message is just a way to convey their arrival. Was it the first proof of the alien existence on another planet?
But it happened for real that on the 15th of August 1977, a strong narrowband radio signal was received by the Big Ear radio telescope of the Ohio University. The constellation Sagittarius was the source from which the signal was received that put a herd of the scientist in riddles about the expected hallmarks of extra-terrestrial origin, (in common terms: The Aliens). After the marvel that amazed the wit of the scientists, SETI (SEARCH OF EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE) came into existence that took notice and researched on the radiations and signs of transmission from civilisations on other planets. Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner made advanced efforts with a well-funded project named the Breakthrough Initiatives to seek the signals of alien life present in the universe.
The suspicious signal
The anomaly of the first proof that aliens existed was discovered later by the 37-year-old astronomer Jerry R. Ehman while reviewing the recorded data. He was so galvanised by the end product of the reading that he printed out the paper and wrote ‘WOW!’ on its side. Later the project was referred to the comment ‘WOW’ ever since. Till date, the WOW signal has been the best prospect for an alien radio transmission ever received.
The scientist noticed a vertical sequence which was alphanumeric. The wow signal consisted of 4 letters- E, Q, U, and J. It has been louder and clearer signal than the average ambient deep space noise. The signal came from the proximity of the frequency of hydrogen hence creating more doubts about the theory of the existence of extra-terrestrial living beings.
72 seconds was the duration the signal was recorded at the Big Ear Radio Telescope 20 years from then; SETI carried out various improved experiments but to no effect, later getting dismantled in the year 1997.
On the 35th anniversary of the WOW signal, in the year 2012 a signal was sent in the same direction from where ‘WOW’ was received in the hope that in case there was an existence of the intelligence, it would send a reply to the coded message. The coded message was “A BIG HELLO from another intelligent civilisation”.
Stephen Hawking proved wrong?
New research has outlined the path of two comets – 266P/Christensen and P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs) – and discovered they were in the right region of the sky at the time the signal was received. Astronomers claim that the large hydrogen clouds enveloping the comets could have produced the radio waves.
Tracing the comet’s journey through the solar system back in time has put scientists to a conclusion that the comets seemed to be in the right place for the source of the Wow signal. Professor Paris has claimed that the astronomers might receive the signal again on 25th Jan 2017 as the Comets might align at the same region.
The world is full of endless possibilities and the fact that we’re still alive to ponder the question is good evidence that our believable universal neighbours don’t give a damn to our existence.